Welcome to our Cyprus Inn!
Vasilias Nikoklis Inn is a small traditional and family owned Cyprus inn.
The inn stands on a bend on the west bank of the Dhiarizos river with views up the valley to the Troodos mountains and down the valley to the sea. Hemmed in by lemon and olive groves, it is a profusion of plants of every hue, from bougainvillea to fig trees and cool, grape covered dining terraces.
The rustic surroundings offer the ideal place for your holidays away from the hustle and bustle of ordinary life, you can relax under the grapevine-covered terrace or by the swimming pool enjoying the sun.
Located just after the village of Nikoklia, a peaceful village with traditional Cypriot charm and an air of sleepiness that makes you feel instantly at home.
Vasilias Nikoklis has a long history. Find out more about Vasilias Nikoklis history .
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Special thanks to S.Stevens of Essex UK for his lovely comments.
Dear Christina ( & Family )
This email is one that gives me great pleasure to write. I have no doubt you receive many emails and letters of praise and mine will be no different I hope .
Firstly your Inn suited us PERFECTLY . It was well described on your web site and we had no surprises when we arrived .Indeed your brother Demetrius gave us a very warm friendly welcome when we arrived late in the evening . That was an excellent start. Your Mothers attention to our needs at Breakfast with a smile started each day well . We found our room very comfortable , clean and the en-suite facilities were of a similar standard with hot water at all times .Read more
We head home today but with the flight not until late afternoon we are able to fit in some birding before lunch and our journey to the airport. For the first time this holiday the early morning boys have a lie in and we meet for breakfast at 8am.
Well fed we drive down to the Xeros Potamos Pool to see whether anything new has come in. There has been rain overnight but the ground is dry here and the wind has dropped so it is very pleasant with warm sunshine. It looks quite quiet when we arrive but it is not long before Geoff calls he has found a Little Crake. It is still in the same place we found it the other day though it is being hassled a little by Moorhens. Shortly a second bird appears and they feed right out in the open allowing us excellent views. There are at least six Wood Sandpipers here, Little Ringed Plovers and overhead there is a strong passage of Swallows and Swifts including a few Alpine Swifts. There are a number of Sand Martins going through as well which are almost the first we have seen. Zitting Cisticolas are singing and after a while two Glossy Ibis appear and a Squacco Heron flies over. A Marsh Harrier is hunting above the fields and a Spanish Sparrow shows briefly.Read more
The early morning boys return to the track behind the hotel this morning and start with great views of Turtle Dove perched right out in the open. The Red-rumped Swallows are still hanging around the road culvert and a female Hen Harrier flies across the valley. As we drop down to the riverside we find the usual Cyprus Warblers singing from the trees and wires and we find Blackcap, Cetti’s and Sardinian Warbler. Green and Common Sandpipers are feeding along the river, but there are no shrikes or wheatears or anything! Another Hen Harrier glides over the valley and starts hunting the far side and we get brief views of a Nightingale and a couple of Whitethroats.
After breakfast we turn right from the driveway for a change and start up the road that heads high into the hills. We have not been travelling long when Roy spots a bird on the wires that looks interesting. He pulls the car off the road and we scan back through scopes – it is a Roller!! This is a great find and we enjoy good scope views as it occasionally drops to the ground for some morsel and returns to the wires. As we watch we hear the occasional call of Great Spotted Cuckoo which and after the Roller has gone we spend a while waiting for it to appear. Just as we are about to give up two birds appear and fly towards us. We get fantastic views of one bird as it searches for caterpillars in the grass below us then the other bird appears in the closest tree – a great photo opportunity!
Delighted with our success we carry on up the valley pausing here and there to scan the bushes and fields. We spot several Cyprus Wheatears, some of them singing their rather insect like buzzy song. We see Sardinian Warbler, Tree Pipit, find Paphos Blue butterflies and hear a singing Wren. There are a few orchids in rather dry field. Most are well over, especially the Giant Orchids, but a couple of Naked Man Orchids look just about ok and we find a different Tongue Orchid – ???????????? There are some Bee Orchid types we later identify as ??????????? We continue upwards and are delighted when we discover a pair of Cretzschmar’s Buntings at the side of the road, literally just a few feet away, soon realising there is a second pair close by.
We make a stop for lunch at a spot with picnic benches looking out at a great view but the wind is rather strong and very cold – so cold some people retreat to the van to eat!
It is not far from here to Troodos itself where we park and take a walk, putting on a couple of extra layers before we start in the bitter wind! It is even spitting with rain and we wonder how long we will spend here. We walk across the square and are surprised to see several Cyprus Wheatears in a very short distance, one male is particularly smart. We make a stop at the loos and while we gather again outside a family of Crossbills appear in the tree very close by and we can’t believe our luck as we watch an adult feeding a very stripy looking young bird. They are there for a while but with the weather seeming to deteriorate we decide to walk on – but as we are about to go a group of four Jays appear in a dead tree in the background. They look a little different to our Jays with plainer heads. That is two of the four endemic subspecies we are hoping for today! As we set off the rain starts a little more and the wind really picks up! It is incredibly cold but we have only gone a few yards when a small bird flits into the tree near the track – a Short-toed Treecreeper!! This is the third of the endemic subspecies and we get great views.
It is bizarre that the forth endemic sub-species – Coal Tit – is usually the easiest but right now although – we can’t find one! We decide to get out of the wind on another track and there immediately find a Coal Tit, but it flies and vanishes before we can really see it. We walk on a bit and get very brief glimpses of another one. Then the wind picks up again and we go back to the most sheltered spot and wait there. Roy is thrilled to spot a Masked Shrike here in the garden of one of the houses! It is a female and we set up the scopes and are enjoying great views when suddenly the male appears. What a stunning bird he is – just beautiful with black and white plumage except for the gorgeous apricot coloured flanks – a wonderful combination. He looks all the better for being in a tree full of white blossoms – a fabulous photo opportunity – and he perches right out in the open where we can all enjoy prolonged scope filling views – perfect!
Eventually the shrike flies and we decide to try somewhere else for Coal Tit. We are very cold though so after a quick look in the shops we drive down to the next village and make a stop for a coffee. They have a big log fire and it is very nice to get warm again while we enjoy our hot drink and Geoff kindly buys those who would like one a brandy as well!
Driving on we decide to visit the monastery at Kykos. This is truly astonishing with an incredibly ornate church within it with a breathtaking amount of gold decoration. Every inch of the inside is decorated either with gold or beautiful paintings depicting biblical scenes. There are enormous candle holders, chandeliers, paintings of the saints and through the next room an astonishing collection of boxes and other things including boxes that seem to house small pieces of bone presumably from the saints or other holy people. There are beautiful gold boxes exquisitely decorated and an astonishing piece if embroidery that Joy is thrilled to see. It must have taken for ever to complete. It is hard to put into words just how impressive it all is and everyone is astonished.
In the rest of the monastery there are wall and ceiling paintings along all the corridors. They mainly show biblical scenes and sometimes tell a particular story as a series of paintings. They are beautiful done, some paintings, others mosaics, some beautiful, some rather disturbing! In the latter category is a painting of people climbing the steps that lead to heaven with angels hovering above them carrying a crown for each person and demons with bats wings pulling some people off the ladder and feeding them to a huge dragon like beast! It is a truly astonishing place and well worth the visit.
It is a long and winding road indeed that leads from here down through the Cedar Valley and then through various small villages to finish at our hotel. We make one stop to take photos of the stunning view as the mist has now cleared and the view down to the coast is superb. We can hear Coal Tits singing – at least four of them – but still fail to get a good view of this distinctive subspecies. Then we drive down through the valley enjoying the scenery and noting the old cedar trees for which the valley is famous. The Strawberry Trees are all in flower and so are Judas Trees with their brilliant pink flowers.
We arrive back at the hotel pleased to have finished with the windy roads and enjoy our evening meal before trying once again for the Scops Owl. It is very frustrating as we can hear it calling above our heads and shine the torch along all the branches but cannot locate the bird before suddenly it goes quiet. Then it starts to rain so with the odds apparently against us we decide to call it a day.
Once more the early morning boys are out at 7am and with rain overnight feeling optimistic that perhaps a migrant or two may have come in! Sadly all seems rather quiet as we walk down to the river spotting the usual Cyprus Warbler briefly and a couple of Sardinian Warblers. We get good views of Turtle Dove again and a brief view of a Cetti’s Warbler, then further down the river get good views of Green Sandpiper. A flock of House Martins is passing through – the first flock we have seen really, and a few Common Swifts are with them then as we walk back Roy spots something dart under one of the bushes. Peering amongst the branches he can just make out a superb male Collared Flycatcher!! Flycatchers are not renowned for their skulkiness so it seems surprising that when it vanishes behind the bush we just can’t relocate it! We put in some time searching and watching the whole area in the hope it might fly-catch and make itself obvious but there is just no sign. In the end we have to give up and arrive for breakfast fifteen minutes late!
After breakfast we make our way down to Mandria in the hope that some new migrants have arrived. It is pretty quiet though apart from the waves that are crashing onto the shore! We find a couple of Northern Wheatears and a nice flock of around 20 Short-toed Larks that show well but little else other than a Marsh Harrier hunting the fields.
On the way to Paphos we make a stop at a spot where Roy has seen Stone Curlews in the past. We scan the ground but can find nothing and so continue on our way but as we drive suddenly Roy spots one in the shade beneath an olive tree and we stop again and are soon enjoying not just one but four Stone Curlews!
We drive on to Paphos where we go to see the mosaics, an excellent area for birding where a huge number of rarities have been found over the years, though today it seems rather quiet. The mosaics are well worth seeing though as they are quite incredible and date back to between 3 BC to around 5 AD. There is even quite a lot of wildlife in them and we identify Bears, Wild Goats, Tiger, Leopard, Wolf and Wild Boar amongst other things. The detail and sheer extent of ground covered by them is incredible and everyone seems impressed.
There are a few birds amongst the ruins including Northern Wheatears, Sardinian Warbler, three Woodchat Shrikes, a few Black-headed and White Wagtails and a veritable flock of Whinchats but little else and we feel slightly disappointed not to get more here.
From here we drive round to the coast for lunch and sit watching the waves but it is very quiet apart from a couple of Crested Larks. After we have eaten we decide to head up into the hills to the north and make first for a reservoir on the way to Pollis. All is quiet there too and we just find a couple of Little Egrets and a few Mallards on the reservoir – but Arlene brilliants spots a Roller very distantly on the telegraph wires! There are also a few orchid here including the Tongue Orchids ?????????? and the Bee-orchid ????????????. There are lots of other superb flowers including a brilliant red vetch????????? And ???????? and amongst them a few Paphos Blues.
We drive on and just up the road realise we are underneath the wires the Roller was on and sure enough there it is! We enjoy great views for a few moments before it flies and we follow it relocating it further on with a second bird. We get a brief view of a Long-legged Buzzard and Roy also spots a Steppe Buzzard but it glides away all too quickly. The weather looks perfect for raptors and we try a few vantage points in the hope that we might find eagles or even vultures but despite the perfect weather there appear to be nothing other than Kestrels on the wing this afternoon. We eventually arrive at another reservoir where we find little other than a few Goldfinches, a Corn Bunting, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Greenfinch and yet another Sardinian Warbler.
We head back to the hotel and after a break meet up again outside to try and see the Scops Owl. Having failed to see it after our evening meal tonight we have decided to eat a little later and try before the meal. We meet up at 7:30 and it is a little light still but at about 7:40pm suddenly a bird starts calling. We peer into the trees but can’t find it then it stop and we hear it has moved round the back of the hotel. We walk round to get closer and creep into the back garden where Geoff suddenly says he has got it. Almost immediately it flies but lands on the telephone wires and stays long enough for us to enjoy great scope views before it flies again – a brilliant end to the day.
After an excellent evening meal we do a final run through the checklist before doing our usual end of holiday round up, going round each member of the group to hear their favourite memories of the holiday – favourite bird and place and a magic moment. There are a variety of birds that get a mention including Little Crake, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Kingfisher and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater but the species that gets the most mentions by far is the gorgeous Masked Shrike we saw up at Troodos in the blossom tree. It is also pointed out afterwards that there are loads of great birds that don’t get a mention, the beautiful male Garganeys at Larnaka, Lesser Kestrels, Collared Pratincole, Cretzschmar’s Buntings, Rüppell’s Warbler and of course the two endemics Cyprus Warbler and Cyprus Wheatear! It has certainly been a great trip!!
Of the many places we visited it is the pools below the motorway that get the most mentions while other places include Anarita Park and the astonishing Monastery at Kykos. Magic moments are always harder to predict and everyone has their own with Black Francolin and Great Spotted Cuckoo both getting their own mention. Joys face when she entered the monastery was a picture and it is not surprising that she chooses this moment as her magic moment while other people chose moments when two good birds coincided – for Daphne the Lesser Kestrels and Montagu’s Harriers, for David the Great Snipe and Little Crake moment. But there was one moment that three people mention and that was the astonishing sight of around 500 Yellow Wagtails at Larnaka – a real surprise. Everyone is thrilled with how the trips has gone and there are thanks to Roy and we all agree that it has been a lovely group too with much laughter and fun – all in all a great holiday.Read more